We all want to fight cavities and have a megawatt movie-star smile. But some toothpaste may be going too far, adding ingredients that could be bad for our overall health. Here are a few of the more insidious ingredients:
Sodium Fluoride Used in Rat Poison
While it’s one of the main ingredients in toothpaste, sodium fluoride is widely used in rat and cockroach poisons. Ingested by humans, too much sodium fluoride can lead to nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, and diarrhea, especially in small children. Fluoride has never been approved by the FDA. The US National Toxicology Program found evidence of carcinogenic activity of sodium fluoride.
Triclosan Disrupts Development
Another culprit found in popular toothpaste is triclosan. This anti-bacterial ingredient — designed to prevent gum disease — has some pretty alarming side effects. Not the least of which are hormonal disruptors that caused fetal bone malformations in mice and rats. According to Caren Helbing, a professor at the University of Victoria in Canada, triclosan’s chemical structure is similar to both thyroid hormones and PCBs, which allow these chemicals to become active on hormone receptors. She found that tadpoles exposed to triclosan developed into smaller froglets and had malformed legs. The effects were tied to doses equal to just 1/10 of a pea-sized bit of toothpaste the average person uses on a daily basis. Thomas Zoeller, an endocrine specialist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst noted that nearly 1,000 chemicals are believed to disrupt the endocrine system, but triclosan is among the top 10 that people are exposed to on a regular basis.
Propylene Glycol Linked to Liver, Kidney Abnormalities
Used in antifreeze, propylene glycol is quickly absorbed through the skin. Too much of this chemical may lead to brain, liver and kidney abnormalities. The EPA insists workers use gloves when handling propylene glycol. And you’re putting it in your mouth?
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate & DEA form Cancer-Causing Nitrates
According to the American College of Toxicology, sodium laurel sulfate may remain in your body for up to five days — lurking in your heart, liver, lungs and brain. Combined with other chemicals, this compound transforms into nitrosamines, powerful carcinogens that cause your body to absorb harmful nitrates. Too much sodium laurel sulfate can damage your eyes, irritate your skin and result in labored breathing. Then there’s DEA, a chemical that disrupts hormones and forms cancer-causing nitrates.